Bridge Burner Special Reserve Ale | Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

very good
167 Reviews
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Bridge Burner Special Reserve AleBridge Burner Special Reserve Ale

Brewed by:
Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes on 06-27-2008

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Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 391
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a pint glass this beer was a beautiful chestnut brown color. It had a huge tan head that left a lot of lace.

Aroma of brown sugar and caramel, nice and sweet. Some fruit noted.

Mostly a caramel taste. There was also a taste of citrus and tropical fruit.

Mouthfeel was sweet and a little bit funky. Really enjoyed it.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, shared with a friend. Pours chestnut brown in color, topped with a frothy tan colored head that leaves good lacing on the glass. Aromas are malty with brown sugar and caramel filling the nose. Tastes are malty up-front as well with caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, and molasses followed by some resiny, piny hop and citric notes; good complexity. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Goes down nicely. Overall, this is a brewery I have not had much from, but this special reserve ale was a good pickup & worth the try.

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Photo of drpimento
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this greedily and a little too cold right out of the fridge with a decent, foamy, frothy, tan head that soon subsided to a light cover and lots of lace. Color is a hazy to cloudy/opaque depending on width of the glass, amber brown. Aroma is an interesting heady mix of malt, yeast, hop, dark ripe fruit, leather, funk, hint of cocoa. Flavor's like nose, very slightly sweet, lots of bitter and good carbonic tang. Body is full, bitterness stands out on back of tongue, carbonation is just right. Finish is like flavor with the bitterness lasting a while along with some boozy warmth. Big beer.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Save this one for dessert or when the weather is cooler weather. Strong bodied with lots of fruit, plums in particular. It had been sitting in the beer fridge for about four months, so it may have lost any hop characteristics, as there were very little to be found. A pleasant drink, nonetheless. Think a tawny port, but with less than half the ABV, less sweet, and darker. Fluffy head and an aroma that matches its flavor. Medium high carbonation make this one fun drink.

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Photo of Durtdiggler
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from Bomber bottle into Snifter. Dark brown molasses with effclervescent head crawls all over the side of the glass. Awesome retention.

Smell of Molasses, hops all balance but both on steriods. Sweet bread. Subtle.

Taste is very complex that hits hard given a mellower aroma. Strong pine start with complex fruit. hops hammers the finish and balances it out though. Beer has a massive backbone, very malty. whole flavor experience plays with your mind. Like a brown ale and ipa almost on steroids.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Finishes very clean. Well carbonated to kill any syrup or flatness. Soft.

If this beer is what an American strong Ale is then I am in. I have to sit and think about what I am drinking since the profile is so varied. Brilliant. What an experience, different. Probably will be a favorite.

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Photo of ChimRichels
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Body is stout like. pitch black, although on the pour it appeared to be fairly brown. Not a hint of light getting through. Head is surprisingly white, offering a stark contrast to the deep body. Head is dense and voluptuous and leaves exquisite lacing.

S - First whiff is like someone just smacked me in the face with a pineapple. The intensity wears off, but it's hard to pull anything more substantial from the nose. Just tropical fruity hops.

T - Taste is much more delicate than the nose, with many contrasting flavors engaging in an elaborate seduction. The toasted malt compliments the fruity hops and the overall bitterness reminds you to sip slowly and savor the nuances of the brew. I'd say the hops win the tug-of-war of dominance.

M - Fairly dry, but otherwise full-bodied and delectable.

O - Delicious beer that is fairly ambiguous, but regardless it is quite tasty.

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Photo of NWer
4.55/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark brown into my tulip at room temperature (room temperature for me is 62 degrees - I like it cool).
Nice milky taffy aroma. Smooth taste. Delicious. Malt forward flavors blend well and make a mockery of those silly little indicators on the side of the label. A very nice smooth milky dark beer that no doubt met the expectations of the brewer.
Nothing to dislike about this beer.
Very enjoyable.
Update on reflection:
Tastes a little similar to a very good Scottish Ale. The more I think about it, the more I realized I liked it - a lot. Would like more of this but haven't seen it around here. Picked it up at John's Market in Portland.

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Photo of sirdrinkwell
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a deep muddy brown with generous head, eventually dissipating to leave lots of residue along the edge of the glass.

S-heavy toffee caramel smell which overwhelms all other character, but a bit of ginger-like hops fight through as well...

T-big gulp of sycamore syrup and a gummy caramel malt along with a jolt of smoky hops.

M-decent mouthfeel, rich and well balanced.

D-if tootsie roll ups were ever to manifest themselves as a beer, i imagine it would be something like this. nothing very remarkable, but not bad either...i wouldn't turn beer snob on anybody if this were ever thrust in my hands in the future.


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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle from the brewery poured into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a 2+ finger foamy beige head. Really nice lacing. Extremely dark brown with red/maroon tones but too cloudy to determine the full color.

S: Big resinous hops with citrus and pine. A little ammonia-like aroma (but not a defect or bad).

T: Malty caramel and slight smoky bitter. Hops carry from the aroma and offers hints of spruce. Bitterness is big, welcome, and unique. Finishes with a syrup/molasses note. Boozy.

M: Good. A little unremarkable except for the syrup touch.

D: Not a session brew but excellent.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out looking like a standard brown ale, maybe a little sturdier. Aroma was caramel and alcohol. For the gauge on the label saying very hoppy, it certainly was not noticeable in the aroma.

Well, it wasn't big hopped on the tongue either. Yes, it was existent, but when you do a 1-10 scale on the label, and the gauge is on 10, you'd expect more of it. What was there was the typical darker citrus fruit and caramel presence. Substantial bitterness for something with a sturdy malt base.

I love Lakefront brewery, especially their tour, but this one in bomber format and pricing isn't something I see myself returning too. Nice to score something from Milwaukee at Ben's in Reno though.

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Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 2/3 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight caramel malt, slight dark citrus, hint of yeast, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, roasted malt, slight hop, slight alcohol, hint of wheat, hint of dark citrus, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance, aroma, blend, complexity, and body.

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Photo of shand
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into an imperial pint.

Pours a muddy red-brown with a tiny head that doesn't last for long. Aroma is a nice piney hop over big caramel malts and dark fruits. Taste kinda reminds me of a less alcoholic barleywine, with a bit more hoppiness than is normal for the style. The mouthfeel is full, and the drinkability is good. Overall, a solid strong ale for a solid price.

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Photo of zeff80
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a dark burgundy color with a small, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled fruity and yeasty with a strong dose of maltiness and booze.

T - It tasted very boozy and had a strong alcohol heat. Very sweet with caramel and a touch of fruitiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This could use some time to mellow out. A bit too sweet and boozy.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, 8.0% ABV. Lots of good stuff about working together, bridging the gap (with fire, apparently), and all that, on the busy label.

This beer pours a dark, murky orange-tinted brown colour, with three fingers of chunky, foamy, and rather bubbly light beige head, which leaves some very nice tight webbed lace around the glass in its short wake.

It smells pretty much like a prototypical DIPA: tart citrus hops, a hint of muddled pine resin, bready caramel and toffee malt, and a sidling nostril-probing booziness. The taste still leads with the sassy hops - blended citrus notes and wet pine, to a lesser degree, with a sturdy backbone of bready, lightly caramelized malt, Toffifay, and some besotted raisin and dark plummy fruitiness.

The carbonation is moderate, with just a wee prickliness, the body a stolid medium weight, and maybe a little thinned out by the booze, but generally smooth. It finishes, as ever was, with resplendent piney, citrus rind hop bitterness, annoyed reactionary citizen malt, and a slightly sneaky and almost ethereal alcohol warming.

If it looks like, smells like, and tastes like a DIPA, then it must be so? No? Two out of three for the win? Ah well, it's got more big-ass hopitude packed into those 45 IBUs than a lot of actual DIPAs I've recently come across. Tasty, American, strong, and ale - got it.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very swampy deep purple, tall fluffy tan head retained very nicely
S - strong pine dominates big time, mild molasses malt
T - pine and floral hops with a nice toffee malt compliment, light woody and caramel finish, very interesting
M - big body with strong carbonation, somewhat syrupy feel
O - similar to an esb, damn good

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Photo of kennylopez
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into my Lafefront Pint glass.

Appearance: A caramel reddish brown color with fine sediment that is the only thing from making it clear brown. Fingers worth of head that left rings of lacing as I drink it

Smells: I get a heavy hop and bread malt front that has the presence of the 8%

Taste: there is a smooth cherry like barley that is backed up with a floral and pine like hop.

Mouthfeel: A strong burn out of this strong ale which is a pleasure to drink. The sticky carbonation left my mouth with a light roasted feeling which I enjoyed.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

appearance: fairly nondescript.
smell: Not much going on. Smells a little like a strong ale that's gone weak.
taste: more of the same. Not a drain pour by any means but just average.
overall: Not sure if i got a bad bottle or what. i see lots of good reviews from reviewers i respect but this one's not happenin.

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Photo of meeekyh
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is really barleywine-like but I was noticing the dried fruit in the nose before I read the suggestion on the Lakefront wabsite; the aggressive malt and distinctive barleywine fruitiness only appeared after the suggestion. I love the idea of an 8% barleywine, just inside the drinkable line and with the fullness of a 10% crusher.

I picked a tall, curvy, pilsner-like glass to receive the ale that has a dark red hand holding an over sized match printed on the paper label affixed to the 220z brown bottle.

The beer within is deep amber and unfiltered-cloudy, proudly displayed in the sedimentary yeast I poured into the glass and no-doubt containing the B vitamins that would be wasted had I not.

There is a great weight of beer contained in this beer. It is fuller than a standard ale and the balance tends toward the hoppy, though the malt is weighty and sweet. Somebody spent some time on this one and likely studied to make it come out right. Strong ale or barleywine I don't care, its good beer.

This was not expensive and has more beer per beer than most I could but for 1.6 times the price. I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart but those who enjoy a kick should get some.


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Photo of alk3kenny
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great dark color awesome tan head that sticks to the glass... fruity, hoppy nose really makes me think I'm going to enjoy this... fruity, sweet, not as hoppy as promised by the label and the smell still tasty. Very slight alcohol back to let you know it's 8% ... Mouthfeel is thin, smooth could easily drink a couple of these though I think I'd be over the sweetness at some point. Overall enjoyable beer. Got this in a 4 bomber sampler pack. Looking forward to trying the others

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Photo of spointon
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this one form a 22oz brown bomber into a nonic pint glass.

A= This ale poured a deep russet / mahogany color with great clarity and a foamy loose head that rose 2" and then collapsed after a minute or two. Huge sheets of sticky lace left behind.

S= Hints of green orchard fruits, rich malty sweetness, and a lot of west coast oily hops round out the nose.

T= Light/medium malty backbone that conveys a fleeting glimpse of caramel (almost toffee) sweetness. I also enjoyed the significant toasted malt flavor present throughout. Midway the toasted notes push into citric and piney hop flavor. Bitterness is there but doesn't feel significant until the finish. Fruity esters dance throughout but remain in check. Finished long, dry, and hoppy.

MF= This could just be my bias showing, but I wanted this to not be as thin in the mouth. The lighter body, I believe, caused there to be a need for lesser carbonation. I'd take it a bit chewier with a tad higher carbonation if it were brewed just for me.

D= Insanely drinkable. Though I wanted it to be this or that as I drank it, at the end of the day this is a really drinkable beer that hides its alcohol and inspires one to drink it down and then look for more.

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Photo of johnkale
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

May 2011 bottling, poured into a snifter

A - murky, opaque brown, a finger of tawny foam on top that quickly dissipates to a ring, lacing is good

S - caramel (lot of caramel), a good whiff of grapefruit and some resinous pine, brown bread, a little cocoa, plus a nice licorice note. a lot of stuff going on here, but caramel is the dominant note with grapefruit as counterpoint

T - caramel again, though not to the same extent, bitter orange is prominent with some nice floral undertones, a little bit of peppery spice and anise at the end, alcohol warmth in the finish masks a lot of the hop characteristics that I think would make this beer special if they were more evident, heat dissipates as the beer warms (funny huh?) and more stone fruit flavors shine through, plum and apricot, beer gets super tasty above 55 degrees

M - nothing to write home about, medium full with moderate carbonation, could stand to be a little thicker

O - amazing nose, a little too hot, a little too thin, still delicious and complex

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Photo of Sammy
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewery. Black with a little white head. Not aroma.Some chocolate malt, some roast. This is what I was getting. Boozy. Less than
average strong, a bit like a malt liquor with some chocolate flavouring.Not so drinkable. WOuld like some more hops which would be more like the style.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a nice off-white head.

S- Fresh citrusy hops stand out in the aroma with some fruity malt and caramel in the background.

T- The taste is malty up front with caramel and a good dose of hops and some alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, Bridge Burner is a solid beer that is worth a try.

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Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Large capped bottle, poured into a tulip. Very good price for a large bottle.

It is dark yellow with a reddish tint, and a nice, large and long lasting off white head.
I dont know why I thought this was an amber ale, or something similar before opening, but the aroma made me read the bottle, as it shows caramel and butterscotch, some fruits, and a generous dose of hops, mostly grassy and piney.
Just about full bodied, it shows relatively well balanced notes of malty caramel, grains, but still heavier on the bitter hoppiness, grassy and fruity. Quite nice, better than expected. For whatever reason, coincidence or not, their large bottles/bombers bring better beers than the small ones.

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Photo of cooler4life
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apr '10 Bottle

A: Medium caramel brown color, slight amber tint with little head, some lacing but not much.

S: Definite hints of fruitiness, twinge of coffee and malt.

T: Sweet hops, fruity, I taste raisin, and finishes with a tart twinge.

M: Smooth, deceiving given the high ABV. I could get in trouble with this one. Creamy and friendly with just a hint of the alcohol.

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Bridge Burner Special Reserve Ale from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
3.86 out of 5 based on 391 ratings.
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